The Gods of Comedy Review

A hushed audience is immersed, midway through watching the stage from the dark of the intimate Black Box theater tucked away in the corner of the Performing Arts Center. BOOM! A burst of multicolored confetti rains down, flooding the stage. Dionysus and Thalia, played by Jake Fargo (12) and Libby Bezdek (12), pose dramatically in the light, donned in Ancient Greek robes as the Gods of Comedy. Tadaaaa.

Led by student director Regan Guirguis (12), this hilarious yet poignant comedy follows Daphne Rain, a young Classics professor and the debut role of Keira Murray (11), as she embarks on a much-needed adventure full of switched identities, powerful deities and an uplifting message to seize opportunities in life. 

Other major characters include Dean Trickett and Ralph Sargent, a dean and a professor at the same college as Rain. They are played by Kate Heppell (12) and Ron Tal (12) Sargent had recently recovered a copy of the lost play “Andromeda,” and Trickett planned to capitalize off of the find for university funds. However, after Rain loses the invaluable manuscript that Sargent had left with her for safekeeping, she summons the Gods of Ancient Greece in a panic, beginning a series of misadventures as she attempts to recover the manuscript. 

The show opens on the Greek island Naxos with the souvenir peddler Aristide, the debut performance of Nolan Greer (11). Greer expertly utilizes the audience’s close proximity in the Black Box theater to his advantage, exchanging entertaining dialogue with audience members as he tries to sell his absurdly priced wares. 

The sound production perfectly complements the play as Rain saves Aristide’s son from a bus, a heroic action made comical by a perfectly timed honking horn. As a token of his gratitude, he gifts her a talisman that summons the gods of Ancient Greece to help the wearer in times of trouble. 

Perhaps the most captivating part of the play is the dynamic between Fargo’s Dionysus and Bezdek’s Thalia as they praise modern innovations like  McDonald’s or whip out popcorn while watching the humans’ drama unfold. In their attempts to help Rain, lest they burn for an eternity in the Underworld under Zeus’ decree, they inadvertently create more misfortune for Rain, much to the glee of the audience. 

I also particularly enjoyed the humorous interactions between Brooklyn DeWolfe and Ares, portrayed by Alana Dean (12) and Tanay Gupte (12), as the arrogant Broadway actress rebuked the confused god of war’s advances. 

The show’s costume design is put on full display in the second act, as characters wear colorful, flowing robes and golden wreaths at a costume party in celebration of the “Andromeda” manuscript. After the gods evoke their ability to shapeshift, more antics ensue as Sargent professes his love and passionately kisses Trinkett, mistaking her for Thalia. The hilarity culminates in Fargo’s dramatic reveal in DeWolfe’s dress after he morphs into her.

Despite the abundance of funny moments, the play also nails its emotional scenes, with Bezdek delivering a heartfelt monologue about the beauty of new experiences and Murray’s touching performance when her character Rain completes her journey of self-discovery and gains the confidence to star as the lead actress in her production of “Medea.” 

The Black Box as a performance space, coupled with the versatile actors leaning into their comedic sides, was pure, enjoyable fun for the audience. Whether the audience was on the edge of their seat as the Russian janitor Aleksi, played by Eric Lee (10), shreds the “Andromeda” manuscript, or they were whipping their heads around to watch the exhilarating chase as characters physically run to find the lost play, the cast’s incredible acting ability created an engrossing experience as I watched, inches away. The characters rushing through the midst of the audience out of a hidden exit, or the cheering and laughter of an immediate audience established a unique relationship between the audience and the actors, unlike any other show from this year. 

After a long year of successful productions, TP Players still managed to go out with a bang showcasing their production of “The Gods of Comedy.” Tadaaaa.

Read on Issuu.

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